Aiken, Conrad

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Aiken, Conrad

Aiken, Conrad (āˈkĭn), 1889–1973, American author, b. Savannah, Ga., grad. Harvard, 1912. Aiken is best known for his poetry, which often is preoccupied with the sound and structure of music; his volumes of verse include The Charnel Rose (1918), Selected Poems (1929; Pulitzer Prize), Brownstone Eclogues (1942), Collected Poems (1953), A Letter from Li Po (1956), A Seizure of Limericks (1964), and The Clerk's Journal (1971). In 1924 he edited Emily Dickinson's Selected Poems, which established her literary reputation. Aiken's interest in psychopathology is evident in the novels Blue Voyage (1927) and Great Circle (1933). His collected critical essays, A Reviewer's ABC, appeared in 1958, his collected short stories—including “Mr. Arcularis” and “Silent Snow, Secret Snow”—in 1961. Aiken held (1950–57) the poetry chair at the Library of Congress and was awarded the National Medal for Literature (1969).


See his autobiography, Ushant (1952, repr. 1971); biography by J. Martin (1962).

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Aiken, Conrad (Potter) (Samuel Jeake, Jr., pen name)

(1889–1973) poet, writer; born in Savannah, Ga. He was raised in Cambridge, Mass., attended Harvard (B.A. 1907–12), lived in England for various periods, and settled in Brewster, Mass. (1940). He wrote for leading periodicals, and was noted for his rather difficult poetry, such as The Preludes for Memmon (1931), and for his demanding novels and short stories.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.